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Memento Mori: End of Life, Death and Imagined Afterlife in the Contemporary Latvian Lifeworld

Project/agreement No.
Project funding
299 922.00 EUR
Project manager
Project realization
02.01.2020. - 31.03.2023.


The scientific objective of the project is to provide fieldwork based and an in-depth analysis grounded in theory of the perception of human mortality and death in contemporary Latvia, approaching the above perception as a socially constructed intrinsic part of individual’s lifeworld.


The project is structured into three interlinked thematic Work Packages: (I) Approaching the end of life; (II) Good and bad death; (III) Imagined afterlife. It will take a phenomenological approach, employing document and literary research, focused ethnography and a nationally representative survey for data collection. We will inquire how individuals reflect on their mortality and inevitable death, do they prepare for the end of life, how their perceptions of death relate to the way death is conceptualised in modern medicine, i.e., as whole brain death, are some ways of dying preferred over others, and what is common imagination concerning the continuation of existence after physical death, i.e. the afterlife? The project’s major output will be a monograph or an edited volume. The project will promote the development of death and dying studies (thanatology) in Latvia, produce comparable data sets, test the application of phenomenological methodology in death and dying studies, and facilitate scientifically grounded decisions of policy makers, for example on the legalisation of euthanasia in Latvia.